In Africa there is a concept known as Ubuntu – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others. – Nelson Mandela
Since the tragic murder of George Floyd, people of all races and community organizations have unified a single voice that politicians can no longer ignore. As monuments celebrating confederates continue to topple, we see examples of police reforms taking shape in cities around the world.
These are only a few examples in a wave of reform movements stretching from coast to coast. We accomplished this together with our collective voices and unified action. We are stronger together, and we are not done. The fight will continue.
Below is a statement of unity among Black Civil Rights and other community-based organizations in the Los Angeles area.
Today, African American leaders come together to support the movement of Black Lives Matter-LA. We understand that we have one agenda – to lift up the voice of Black Lives Matter-LA in the spirit of the African word Ubuntu, which means “I am because we are. Without we, there is no me”.
This is a time in our history that our organizations will not be divided.
In traditional African culture and spirituality, the image of the circle is important to all aspects of life. The circle represents completeness, fullness, power, unity, inclusion and inter-connectedness. It is the primal source of energy and wisdom – that which is the source of all things and continues to give birth to new possibilities thereby offering hope. Many life forms, ceremonies, rituals and buildings in traditional African culture follow the shape of a circle.
Within the circle we understand that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Everyone brings a unique talent to the circle. If we allow anyone to hurt a member of our circle, we only hurt ourselves. Therefore, we lift up and support each other because as you get better, so do I.
In African culture, when anyone has a challenge, the tribe calls a circle and the entire tribe works to create solutions to heal the individual and the community.
The understanding of the circle is the understanding of the principle of Ubuntu – I am because we are, without we there is no me. Collectively, we understand that we didn’t get here by ourselves and we won’t get from here by ourselves. The reality of the African proverb rings as true today as it always has – “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Therefore, we honor and support all of the shoulders upon which we stand and vow to maintain The Unity Promise.
In the great African tradition, we have come together in this sacred circle to demonstrate the strength, power and significance of our unity to the world. We are a collection of unique talents, abilities and creeds who stand as one – lifting up each other, supporting each other and caring for one another. We have cast our challenges into the fire so that they may never harm us again. We have also assumed the life of the fire so that it may burn bright and strong within each of us. Now, we stand united in front of our ancestors vowing to never break the bonds of our circle and to always cherish and love each other.
We stand united, yet, we understand that no one will be able to cross over into the promise land UNTIL WE ALL ARE FREE. Therefore, today, more than ever, we stand firm in our Unity.
With you in the Movement,
Los Angeles Urban League, Brotherhood Crusade, Children’s Defense Fund, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Antirecidivism Coalition, SEIU2015, Inner City Struggle, SCOPE, Los Angeles Black Worker Center